In 1510, in Riga, Latvia, the first documented decorated Christmas tree stood in the town square. A legend goes that in the early 1500s, Martin Luther lit a Christmas tree with candles to show his children how stars twinkle at night. In Germany, around 1610, tinsel was invented -- and it was made of real silver. Machines pulled the silver into thin strips. The only problem with silver tinsel was that it tarnished in candlelight. In 1882, Thomas Edison's assistant Edward Johnson had the idea for electrical Christmas tree lights.
The Tree Tradition
Christmas tree past
The first American mention of a Christmas tree was in 1747, and, strictly speaking, it wasn't a tree at all but a wooden pyramid covered with evergreen boughs and decorated with apples.
Christmas tree present
Once the tree idea caught on, it grew by leaps and bounds. More than 34 to 36 million Christmas trees are now produced each year in the U.S. The industry employs over 100,000 people, and over 1 million acres of land have been planted with Christmas trees.
Christmas trees are grown in every single state in the United States -- even Hawaii. It takes a Christmas tree from seven to 10 years to reach maturity. Cherry and hawthorne trees have sometimes historically been used as Christmas trees, but the most popular trees are balsam fir, white pine, Douglas-fir, noble fir, Fraser fir, Scotch pine and Virginia pine. In Germany, artificial trees were invented to replace living trees in some homes when people became concerned about a dwindling tree population. Artificial trees can be made of materials such as plastic, metal and feathers.
Christmas tree Past
By 1900 Artificial Christmas trees were on the market. They were available by mail from Sears, Roebuck and Company, and cost 50 cents for 33 limbs, or a dollar for 55 limbs.
Christmas tree Present
Today, most artificial trees are now manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and contain non-biodegradable plastics and metals. They usually range in price from $200 to $2,000.
Christmas tree books for families:
· A Christmas Tree for Ruby (Max and Ruby) by Grosset & Dunlap Inc.
· The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney
· The Missing Christmas Tree (Thomas & Friends) (Glitter Board Book) by Rev. W. Awdry and Tommy Stubbs
Learning at home by Rhonda Cratty is a new parent resource, filled with ideas to help children become the best they can be. This Kindle e-book can be purchased through Amazon.com for daily fun activities that make subjects become more than pencil and paper, moving into the authentic way of everyday life. 48, four per month, educational learning ideas that can happen anytime. Around the Thanksgiving table, in the backyard, on vacation, everyday within the comfort of family. Each idea can work with multiple ages and needs within a family. Tucked in are lists of family friendly books throughout for all subjects, recipes, and games to extend learning.
More Family fun ideas: